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Things To Do In and Around New Orleans

Are you arriving early or staying late?  Here's are some ideas for fun activities to explore New Orleans!

Looking for more ideas? Visit the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau for more great ideas!

[+] New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival
A 10-day cultural feast featuring music of every style.

Website: www.nojazzfest.com

Mahalia Jackson, often called the greatest gospel singer, returned to her hometown to appear at the first New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in April of 1970. While attending the Louisiana Heritage Fair in Congo Square (then known as Beauregard Square), she and Duke Ellington, who also appeared at the event, came upon the Eureka Brass Band leading a crowd of second-line revelers through the Festival grounds. George Wein, producer of the Festival, handed Ms. Jackson a microphone, she sang along with the band and joined the parade…and the spirit of Jazz Fest was born.

This spontaneous, momentous scene—this meeting of jazz and heritage—has stood for decades since as a stirring symbol of the authenticity of the celebration that was destined to become a cultural force.

From the very beginning, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival was envisioned as an important event that would have great cultural significance and popular appeal. The Festival was the culmination of years of discussions and efforts by city leaders who wanted to create an event worthy of the city’s legacy as the birthplace of jazz. A couple of other festivals were held in the years leading up to the first New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, but those events, different in format, did not take hold as the Jazz & Heritage Festival would.

In 1970, George Wein, jazz impresario behind the Newport Jazz Festival and the Newport Folk Festival (begun respectively in 1954 and 1959) was hired to design and produce a unique festival for New Orleans. The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, a nonprofit organization, was established to oversee the Festival.

[+] Mardi Gras World
Peek behind the curtain and see Mardi Gras in the making!

Website: www.mardigrasworld.com

Mardi Gras World is one of the most unique attractions of New Orleans -  America’s most happening city. It’s a world of wonders, created for you by the people who bring Mardi Gras to life every year—the artists of Blaine Kern Studios.

The colors, the lights, the music, the joie de vivre. It’s all here in one magical place where you can peek behind the curtain and see Mardi Gras in the making. As many people who have enjoyed this wonderful family attraction in New Orleans would say - "You haven’t truly experienced Carnival fun until you’ve explored Mardi Gras World."

Any talks about Mardi Gras aren't complete without a reference to the wonderful artists behind the parade. Since 1947, Blaine Kern Studios has been as much a part of this carnival as the parades that New Orleans loves. In fact, we actually create most of those parades from the concept to completion. We’re the world’s leading makers of Mardi Gras floats, sculpture and props.

You can see our work at the famous annual Mardi Gras parade at Universal Studios Florida, Japan’s Toho Park, Philadelphia’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and in the parades in Antibes and other international cities. You will also find us in theme parks, casinos and amusement parks around the globe.

Create your own magical memories during your New Orleans tour to Mardi Gras World.

[+] Riverboat Tours
Relive the days of old with a cruise along the Mississippi river in a historic riverboat!

Take a ride on a historic steamboat down the Mississippi river and enjoy the sights, sounds and experiences of a bygone era. Take your pick between the Steamboat Natchez or the Creole Queen for your journey. Each offers something different, but you're sure to enjoy either one!

[+] Plantation Tours
Get a feel for the Antebellum South as you look out over rows of oak trees to the Mississippi river from the porch of a plantation home.

Website: http://www.plantationadventure.com/

Enjoy a narrated antebellum adventure with a professional historian as you journey through scenic cypress swamp and wetlands to a magical place where time has stood still...the Old River Road. Learn about a laned of creoles, plantations, slave auctions, Quadroom Balls, maroons, slave revolts, and voodoo. View the Colombia, Evergreen, Whitney, Laura, Felicity, St. Joseph, and Oak Alley plantations. Experience the showplace of the Old South, the majestic Oak Alley Plantation. You'll tour its antebellum mansion, sip a mint julep, or take photos on its expansive historic grounds.

[+] Carriage Tours
For hundreds of years, the only way to get around New Orleans was by horse and carriage. You can still experience the leisurely pace our ancestors did in one of several carriage tours offered today.

Website: http://www.neworleanscarriages.com/

Few landwarks in North America are as rich in history and elegance as New Orleans' French Quarter.
La Nouvelle-Orléans (New Orleans) was founded May 7, 1718 and has since been referred to as
the "most unique" city in America.

There are so many things to see and do in New Orleans that sometimes visitors can forget to slow down. Enjoy a mule-drawn carriage tour to see the wonder of our city's historical arhcitecture and quaint cobblestone alleys.

Join us on a carriage ride and experience our unique history to the fullest.

[+] Garden District Tour
Explore one of the world's most dazzling residential neighborhoods with knowledgeable and entertaining guides

Website: http://www.neworleanscvb.com/visit/neighborhoods/garden-district/

The Garden District is a dynamic community grounded in a strong sense of tradition. Some of its homes are still known by the names of the families that built them over a century ago, and official flags designating Mardi Gras Royalty are a common sight here during Carnival season.

Laid out in 1806 by Barthelemy Lafon as an open, semi-urban system of interrelated parks with basins, fountains and canals, the Garden District was “one of the earliest expressions of the Greek Revival to appear in New Orleans,” according to noted architect, the late Samuel Wilson, Jr. The streets still bear the names of the nine muses of Greek Mythology, and many of the mid-19th century Greek Revival and Italianate homes built in this classical setting remain.

Today stroll under the oaks of Coliseum Square or any of the smaller parks in the Garden District and you are likely to find locals playing with their dogs or reading on the grass. Walk down Magazine Street, the neighborhood’s commercial center, and feel the energy as antique shops give way to contemporary design studios, offbeat clothing stores, restaurants, and much more. Visitors can even find an old-world barber shop, operated by Irish barber Aidan Gill, who offers Guinness and whiskey with his hot towel shaves.

Dubbed the “Garden District” for its capacious showy gardens, this New Orleans Neighborhood is noted for its astounding scenery-just one of its numerous attractions. Visitors are amazed by the elegant homes and the stylish setting that lends itself to a very relaxing and enjoyable experience for all.

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